Dubai: Yousef Al Sawan followed in his older brother Mahmoud’s footsteps to Sharjah Club some six years back to take up basketball. Today, at 15, Al Sawan promises to offer UAE basketball a glimmer of hope at the national level.
Al Sawan was a member of the triumphant Triple Threat team that edged out Jam Black Mambas 13-12 in the junior boys’ final of the 3x3 basketball that concluded at the Dubai Design District late on Wednesday. Currently a member of the UAE U18 squad, the Australian International School student wants to improve the lot of UAE basketball in league with his brother.
“At 18, he’s [Mahmoud] already in the national team. I am confident my turn will come to be picked up for the senior side in the next couple of years. And then we will be ready to turn it on at the next level for the UAE,” Yousef told Gulf News.
“I have my studies, but I also aspire to achieve the best in basketball. I have watched the national team since the past couple of years, and yes, I do know that the UAE can achieve a lot more in the future with both of us in the team,” he added.
The Al Sawan household is a true sporting family. Their dad Waseem, an engineer with Etisalat, leads by example while older sister Nadwa has already made it into the UAE volleyball squad. Yousef has been a Sharjah Club member since childhood where he started off at the football academy.
“Sometime later I was interested in tennis and played for a year. But when I saw my brother playing I decided to try my hand at basketball, and I absolutely loved it,” Yousef related.
Yousef’s brother plays as a point guard or a shooting guard depending on the need of the national team. “I would be ideal as a small forward in the bigger plan. I am accurate from under the basketball and from outside the area. Together, we can make a real difference in our club and country squads,” he added.
Dad Waseem is proud of his children’s contributions in the sporting success of the country. “We have always believed in sport as a way of life for our family. All of us have our aspirations and hopes for the UAE, and I feel proud that my children are in a position to give back to the nation through their sporting talent,” Waseem said.